I wasn't very optimistic. Drake is not usually the most cooperative and had shown no inclination to use the potty or wear anything but diapers. And despite what everyone says about structure and routine with Autism, it really doesn't work for Drake most of the time. He likes to know what to expect, but too much of a routine irks him and he refuses to take part.
So I put (too small thanks to my poor planning) underwear on him in the morning, popped on Thomas and Friends, and sat him in his potty chair. He sat, and sat, and sat. Nothing happened. We continued. When I wanted him to sit, I gave him a distraction, and he'd happily sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Screen time was at its height in our house. Close to noon he had an accident, but I directed him to the potty even though he had clearly finished what he needed to do on the floor, and he cooperated with me.
A few hours later, with the help of too much watermelon, Drake peed on the potty! Startled, he looked down at himself peeing, then up at me like "what the heck is going on mom!?" I praised him, gave him a cookie, and praised him even more. I was proud, elated, and optimistic. That day he didn't do a number 2 at all, but he used the potty two more times after I directed him to sit (and had a couple of accidents).
The next day was the real kicker. He did number 2 multiple times thanks to all the watermelon he consumed the previous day. I don't think I've ever been so happy about a poop in my life. He even went to the potty himself while I did the dishes although he did forget to pull down his undies, which kind of defeats the purpose. It seems pooping on the potty makes more sense than peeing though as he has never once done that on his own.
Since we started a few days ago, we've had bad days and good days. When we leave the house, I put pull ups on him or a diaper as we are not ready for public restrooms. (Can't they have kid sized toilets?) So if we have a busy errand running day, he doesn't get much practice. If I'm not paying close attention to the time and providing distractions while he sits, accidents happen, but I'm hoping over the next month he will make the connection. I don't expect miracles or an overnight success. That's not Drake's style, but I think we are on the right track.
Here's what I've learned so far:
- Watermelon will make your kid poop. Turns out my buying a giant watermelon the day before we started potty training was a good idea. Not only did it get him fluids, but the next day he got a lot of practice doing number 2.
- Character undies make a difference. Not only are they a conversation piece for Drake, but he LIKES them, and if he likes them, he is more cooperative about wearing them. Honestly, he'd much rather run around naked, but I try not to set a precedent of allowing it.
- Distractions are important. Getting Drake to sit for any length of time without a show, fun toys set up in front of him, or my phone is impossible. This kid likes to be on the move. Without them, potty training would not be going in the right direction at all.
- Rewards aren't all they're cracked up to be. Drake was legitimately happy to use the potty. I rewarded him, but I'm not even sure he associated it with using the potty. Every time I praise him, he gives me the biggest smile. He is proud, and I'm almost more happy about that than not having to change diapers.
Both Drake and I have learned a lot these first few days of potty training. Even though I didn’t have a plan, things are going smoothly, and I’m beginning to wonder if his success was helped BECAUSE I didn’t have a plan or expectations.